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'They all count'
More trees along Warriors Walk
Carey Neesley, sister of Sgt. Peter Neesley, hangs a small trinket from a limb on the soldier's dedicated tree on Fort Stewart's Warriors Walk. - photo by Photo by Andrea Washington


Remembering our fallen heroes

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Timothy Hanson was a quiet college student studying history at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside when he decided to join the Army in April 2006.
Unsure of what kind of career a degree in history would lead to and with no clear plans for after college, the Kenosha native thought the world experience offered by the military would help him sort out his future. It would also allow the former Boy Scout to live out his childhood dream of serving his country.
Hanson, who was assigned to the 3rd Infantry Division's 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team out of Fort Benning, promised his parents he would return to college to complete his degree after a few years of service.
But he did not get the chance to fulfill his promise.
The 23-year-old mortar man was killed by enemy small arms fire on Jan. 7 in Salmon Pak, Iraq.
Hanson's parents could not fight the tears streaming down their faces Thursday morning when their son was one of five soldiers honored during a tree dedication ceremony held on Fort Stewart's Warriors Walk.
"In the Army, Timothy was an outstanding mortar man whose comrades remember him as steady and reliable under fire. When his unit took fire, Timothy was always the first to have his mortar ready to return fire," Fort Stewart garrison commander Col. Todd Buchs said. "Timothy was a son and a soldier. His quiet demeanor and good spirit will forever be missed."
Tree dedication ceremonies pay homage to soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan while assigned or attached to the 3rd ID.
Engraved granite markers and eastern redbud trees planted in honor of each soldier along Warriors Walk, a living memorial to those who made the ultimate sacrifice, are unveiled during the observance.
Thursday's ceremony brings the number of memorialized soldiers to 386.
Trying to hold back her tears while standing next to her son's dedicated tree and granite marker, Susan Hanson said she was proud of her son's service and felt the memorial was evidence his work and the work of his comrades was not in vain.
"He counts," she said. "They all count."
The mother, surrounded by husband Robert and son Andrew, said the family plans to return to Warriors Walk in a few months "when the trees are in bloom" to tend to Hanson's dedicated tree and remember the sacrifice he made to protect the country.
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